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Previewing No. 9 Maryland basketball vs. No. 20 Illinois: Game time, odds and how to watch

Here’s what you need to know about the No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball team’s game at No. 20 Illinois on Friday.

Time: 8 p.m.

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Location: State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois

TV/Video: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go

Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, SiriusXM 83 (Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche)

Records: Maryland (18-4, 8-3 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (16-6, 8-3)

Line: Illinois by 3 (as of Friday afternoon)

What to watch

1. Who will seize control of the Big Ten?

The Terps and Fighting Illini are tied atop the conference, a half-game ahead of Michigan State (8-4), a game ahead of No. 22 Penn State (7-4) and 1½ games ahead of No. 17 Iowa (7-5) and Rutgers (7-5). With another win tonight, Maryland would sweep Illinois, securing an all-important tiebreaker for the conference tournament seeding. But it would be a surprise if either ran the table. After Friday, Maryland will face the preseason favorite Spartans twice in their final eight games, as well as travel to Ohio State, Minnesota and Rutgers. The Illini’s final month includes home games against Michigan State and the Hawkeyes and trips to Rutgers, Penn State, Northwestern and Ohio State. A top-four finish secures a double bye in next month’s Big Ten tournament.

2. Is revenge on Illinois’ mind?

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Maryland opened Big Ten play in early December with a start that couldn’t have been worse and a finish that couldn’t have been sweeter. The Illini led in College Park by as many as 15 points before the then-No. 3 Terps stormed back for a 59-58 win. Point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the final 20 seconds, came up with a turnover on the ensuing possession and hit a go-ahead free throw after being fouled. “We have to get back at them,” Illinois freshman center Kofi Cockburn told local reporters this week. “We have to get back at them. We suffered a huge loss against them and have to come back stronger and make sure we pull this one out.”

3. Can Maryland keep Illinois’ stars in check again?

Sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu and Cockburn have emerged as the Illini’s top two players, and two of the most effective in the conference. But neither stood out all that much in the teams’ first meeting. Dosunmu, who’s averaging 15.8 points and 3.4 assists per game on 48.4% field-goal shooting, had just nine points on 12 shots, along with three assists and two turnovers. Maryland guard Darryl Morsell will be expected to be his primary defender once again. Cockburn was more efficient in the loss, finishing with nine points on 4-for-7 shooting and adding eight rebounds (three of them on the offensive glass). Just as important for the Terps was Cowan’s 20-point, six-assist performance. Star sophomore forward Jalen Smith had 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

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